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Yesterday I went to the local supermaket, which of course is a chain store. We got to the check-out counter and the guy working the register looked to me like he wouldn't last a week working in Japan.


1) He was yawning (yawning on the job!) in front the customers. He didn't even try to hide it!

2)I tried to buy a special kind of green pepper, and he didn't know what it was. He asked me what kind it was, and not very politely at that. I didn't know, so he asked again. I still did not know. He looked at me like I was causing him trouble. Am I wrong in thinking that HE is the one getting paid to ring up the item? Should HE not at least pretend to be apologetic for not knowing what it is?

3) He says "Have a great day" with a look on his face like he really means "How much time until my shift ends?"

4) He handed the receipt to the people in front of us (and us as well) like it's a piece of garbage!

5) His clothing was sloppy.

And that's not all about the employees in this store. Finally he had to call in someone else to find the code for the pepper because we were getting nowhere. The lady who came to help called someone else on her telephone thing and finally got the code. But before that what does she say?
"I called Suzy and she says she's on break. Can it wait?"

Can it WAIT?!?!

What kind of store are they running here?

I can just imagine what would have happened to me in Japan if I ever said such a thing in front of a customer when I worked at the hotel. Oh my god would I be in the doghouse! I'd probably be reamed out every day for the next week straight!

Whatever happened to service in this country?

Or am I being overly critical?

Either way, this is not my first complaint with this store.

But, alas, the only other supermarket in town is the Wal-Mart one, and Wal-Mart is not exactly a bastion of service, either.

I hope I am not being overly critical, but I really think that people have very low standards in at least this part of America. Too low. These people have so much potential if they only held themselves to a higher standard.


I would have said something to the kid and/or had a little chat with the manager/owner if I were you.

I think bad service is everywhere, even here in Japan. It is just that here, the workers are trained to say/act exactly the way they are taught so on the surface, it is a little bit harder to judge their real customer service skills.

I get creeped out / annoyed by their fake smiles and their "There's-No-Way-You-Talk-Like-That-In-Real-Life" affected way of talking to customers. I guess that is better than some kid acting like he is doing you a favor by selling you a green pepper... lol
You're right, I should have complained, I suppose. But it seemed to be a systemic problem there, because even the higher-up they called seemed to have a bad attitude. It makes me think, "If you're the only sane person in an insane world, might you not have it backward?"

I would prefer the fake smile any day to what passes for service at that store. As a customer, I'm used to being treated a certain way, and as an ex-employee in Japan, all I can think of these people is, "You're getting PAID to be here! This is not your free time! しっかりしろよ!"

I'll have to complain next time. Thanks for your reply!
I went through similar experiences when I got back to Texas. I was honestly amazed at the crappy customer service. I have to admit that I'm not very keen at all on much of Japanese customer service's cold, sterile fake smiles and almost robotic, stiff manner of speaking, but the service itself was definitely superior. And artificiality is superior to an out-and-out bad attitude coupled with uselessness as well.

I don't think you're being too critical at all. Those people gave you unabashedly terrible service.

(Also, guess you didn't make it down, eh? Tsk tsk.)
Thanks. It's good to know I'm not alone!

(Yeah, I'm sorry about that. Now I won't make any excuses for myself, but...)

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Mikawa Ossan
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